Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Review
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is the next instalment of Ubisoft’s huge franchise. Assassins Creed has carved the foundations of what we know and love of the open world sandbox genre that seem to have become the norm on the newest generation of consoles. This historical action-adventure open world stealth game was developed by Ubisoft Quebec and published by Ubisoft.
Ubisoft has created a fanatic way of capturing your historical buy in into the Assassins Creed games by allowing you to take the role of a fictional characters in an historic era where not only the life style was very real but you also get the climb and scramble real monuments and landmarks through out the world.
Set within London in 1868 during the Industrial Revolution, the story follows twins Jacob and Evie Frye as they navigate the corridors of organized crime during the Victorian era and fight against the established order, controlled by the Templars. The game retains the series’ third-person open world exploration as well as introducing new travelling systems, refined combat and stealth mechanics. Unlike its predecessors, Syndicate does not feature any form of multiplayer gameplay and based on my previous encounter with last years Unity that’s happy note in my book’s, im not going to dwell too much on last years failings but I’ll say this, the multiplayer element that has never had a home in all the previous Assassins Creed games was without a doubt the reason Unity had its issues. Thankfully Ubisoft like to learnt from their mistakes and I can happily say the much loved Assassins Creed franchise is back on course in my books.
From the beginning I could feel the TLC that’s been given to Syndicate, the smooth movements and transitions as you Parkour on a train was blissful. The control you have over your character as he/she is speed running through crowds of Londoners is simply perfect, the control is firmly back in your hands.
Syndicate follows Jacob and Evie as they struggle to take back London from the ever powerful Templars. This doesn’t mean you get to just control 2 characters this time around but Ubisoft has taking the 2 character element and smartly created an internal conflict between both the twin’s, Jacob is brash and passionate pragmatist who is more than happy to take the fight right to the Templars on the streets and shed the secretive ways of the Assassins. Evie is very much geared towards stealth, her way is to slip into the shadows and take back the fragments of Eden and London in the quietest way possible. Naturally this creates drama between the twins. Both characters are very entertaining and likeable from the start, throwing the sibling rivalry into the mix really brings out an entertaining experience.
You can easily switch between the two siblings at any point through the menus, all the side quests and open activities are accessible to both. Story missions are the only exception, you seem to take on the the main assassinations as Jacob instead of having equal amounts of missions for both, this was a little frustrating because Evie is more geared towards stealth in the first place and because I’ve grown to like both characters equally. After playing Syndicate enough I realised it wasn’t about hunting tombs of long past Assassins to unlock pieces of armour and new weapons but the liberation of London and to be frank Jacob is more geared towards this goal.
Even though Evie didn’t have as many story missions I did prefer to play as her through side missions, there is alot more depth to Evie than Jacob, she struggles with her sense of duty to the Assassins Guild and the way in which her father conducted himself, you really get the feeling she is trying to live up to him as this is evident from the beginning. She was always looking at the bigger picture instead of what fight was around the corner. Evie’s side mission’s are always more complicated than Jacob’s giving it the impression she is the brains and Jacob is the brawn.
The London setting is great, for me living very close to London it was very surreal to see monuments like Big Ben and Trafalgar Square in a game let alone being able to scale them. Stereotyping for me is a very big frustration and as an Englishman it can be very annoying to see how we are portrayed in movies, games and TV shows, constantly we are portrayed as posh uptight butler’s wannabe’s with silly over the top ascents (typically this is an American view) Thankfully Ubisoft has done their homework on what the real Victorian English where like for both commoners and upper class, this has made Syndicate not only a well thought out historical title but also it made me realise how much attention to detail they really take in each of their games. Thank you Ubisoft!
Location, location, location…from Italy to America, Assassins creed seem’s to always find a fantastic setting for it’s epic historic story. London 1868 is by far my favourite, not just because im English, because in the Victorian era London was the heart of an empire and in full industrial swing, this brings real character to the city and its people. The setting has been shrank down to make a little more sense, anyone that been to London will know its simply huge and as such its not an exact replica of the City but the train stations, Trafalgar Square and the Palace of Westminster breath London in every way shape and form!
London’s underground has always been a dangerous and violent world with it’s constant gang’s and organized crime, Syndicate gives you a taste in a life of a gangster to a fashion. Jacob’s way in which he aim’s to free the city from the Templars clutches feel’s like a re-run of 2002’s Gang’s Of New York (great film) Jacob’s mission is build up your gang, the Rooks, through taking back control over the different districts within the seven boroughs. Most of these type of missions are open-world activities. Because of this style in which you take down the Templars in these boroughs it doesn’t just feel like your just completing missions but your working towards a more meaningful end.
Seriousness aside Syndicate is also as silly and fun as an of the other Assassins Creed games, from the time in which the franchise started to introduce real life historical figures like Leonardo De Vinci it has endeavoured to introduce at least 1 historical figure in each of it’s titles. This time around we get to track down hallucinogenic orchids for Charles Darwin. At the start of the game you get the opportunity to dress up like Sherlock Holmes and hunt down occultists with Charles Dickens. Amazing. The Dickens side missions where definitely my favourite. You get to accompany this well known novelist to catch hypnotists, expose fraudsters and you also get to visit the most haunted house in London.
The newest addition to your arsenal is the grapple-gun, this item could easily have been missed out of Syndicate but happily its wasn’t, this item is well implemented are really fun to use. London has wide streets because of all the horse and carriages, having the grappling hook allows to get across these without ever touching the floor. The horses and carriages make for another way of getting around London, they dont move as quick as you would think but surprisingly they handle very well.
Graphically Syndicate is amazing, at first all I saw was browns and greys but after a while you really appreciate the graphical design of this game. There are thousands of textures and layers of complexity that become very apparent as you travel around the digital version of London, the sights and sounds of London make the experience all that more entertaining and Syndicate gives you all the elements of a graphical masterpiece. From the shadowy alleyway’s to the misty rooftops, everything feels like your in the industrial age and violence is waiting just around the corner.
Longevity is any Assassin’s creed game is simple, there will always be hours upon hours of gameplay ahead of you, the story is around 20 hours minimum with even more hours of side missions and activity’s so do not worry, if your looking for a long game any Assassins Creed title will give you just that.